Category: OLPC

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OLPC to use Pixel Qi 3Qi screens

Posted by Charbax – March 30, 2010
Image representing PixelQi as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

A cross-licencing deal between the One Laptop Per Child non-profit and Pixel Qi has been announced in this press release:

As a result of the agreement, OLPC receives full license to all Pixel Qi “3qi” screen technology, including 70+ patents in process and all current and future IP developed by Pixel Qi for multi-mode screens. Pixel Qi is leading the design of new screens for OLPC’s next-generation XO laptops.

“A huge barrier to getting computers to mass use in the developing world is limited access to electricity. Pixel Qi is designing new screens for OLPC that will keep laptops going even longer between recharges and excel in long-form reading while providing color and video,” said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child.

Mary Lou Jepsen, founder and CEO of Pixel Qi, added, “OLPC’s focus on the need for low-cost, low-power devices led me to invent power-efficient LCD screens that are optimized for reading. Commercial tablets, notebook computers and smart phones have precisely the same needs. This is one of the few examples in which cutting-edge computer technology first deployed for developing nations benefits the developed world as well.”

A few questions I would have about this awesome partnership:

1. Will a version of XO 1.5 come with the 10" 3Qi screen in the same form factor design?

2. If 3Qi only comes to OLPC starting with the ARM Powered XO 1.75, will it come in the 10" size or will they cut a smaller 7.5" version of it? My guess is to keep the costs low, they will pick the mass produced 10" size there, and fit it inside of the same design just removing most of the screen bezel.

3. I can't wait to learn what power consumption the XO 1.75 and XO 3.0 can run at using the Pixel Qi screen. Does it now run 50 hours on a battery? How much better are ARM Powered laptops like the XO 1.75 and ARM Powered tablets like the XO 3.0 at implementing the DCON processor process where the main processor can turn itself off completely when not in use?

4. Can anyone confirm that we will soon see Pixel Qi in the Marvell Moby Tablet project? Thus sooner see some implementation of tablets for education leading to the full release of the XO 3.0 tablet.

Look perhaps for some answers at Mary-Lou Jepsen's blog. Watch again some of my many Pixel Qi videos:
I'm testing it outdoors at CES
Interviewing Mary-Lou Jepsen about Pixel Qi's status at CES
Demonstrating the Notion Ink Android tablet that uses Pixel Qi
Comparing Pixel Qi with Toshiba's transflective screen and the Kindle's e-ink
Filming in Mary-Lou Jepsen's home lab
Interviewing Mary-Lou Jepsen at Computex 2009
Introducing the Pixel Qi screen at Computex 2009

This press release was found via: slashgear.com

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Beautiful OLPC Documentary film (45min) aired on Arte TV channel

Posted by Charbax – March 23, 2010

This is a 45min Documentary film Directed by Chiara Sambuchi, produced by ZDF/Arte released by Lavafilm, just aired on the Arte TV channel in France and Germany. I have seen most of the OLPC related videos and documentary films during these past 4 years that I have been updating my video-blog at http://olpc.tv, this may be one of the best, most awesome and most beautiful Documentary films on the OLPC project that has yet been made.

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Marvell announces $99 Moby Tablet to Revolutionize Education

Posted by Charbax – March 18, 2010

According to this press release, Marvell is announcing the $99 Moby Tablet for Education. You've seen my video of Marvell's 4.3" Tablet prototype shown at CES based on the Marvell Armada 600 processor. The Moby tablet is based on the same Armada 600 platform but comes with a larger screen (probably 10").


This is an image of a 10" Marvell powered tablet recently shown at the Future of Publishing Summit in New York City as published by Harry McCracken of Technologizer.com, which may be the first $99 Moby Tablet prototype. Consider, this prototype design is most likely of a reference design, Moby won't look like this when shipped.

Marvell's Moby Tablet may be the first prototype of the OLPC XO 3.0:


The OLPC XO 3.0 for $75 wasn't supposed to happen before 2012, but Marvell may now be speeding up its release for a $99 Tablet for Education within months.

Marvell's first version of the $99 Tablet might not initially achieve all the design goals of the One Laptop Per Child XO-3, such as making it as waterproof, sturdy and with plastic unbreakable touch screen.

Will Marvell sell it directly to Governments and Schools to keep the costs low? Or does Marvell plan to have many vendors use their Tablet platform to release several versions of this Tablet platform for around $99 using many brands?

Most importantly, will the first Moby tablets come with a 10" Pixel Qi capacitive touch screen display? Their press release does not yet mention Pixel Qi for the screen technology. But as this is targetted for replacing school textbooks, as it's intended for reading, as Marvell is the largest sponsor of the One Laptop Per Child program of which Pixel Qi is a spin-off company and that the press release clearly says that "The ultra low power Moby tablet is designed for long-battery life", my expectation is that it has to come with a Pixel Qi LCD touch screen display to be readable nearly as clearly as with e-ink and to be able to provide 20-30h battery runtime or more.

Powered by high-performance, highly scalable, and low-power Marvell® ARMADA™ 600 series of application processors, the Moby tablet features gigahertz-class processor speed, 1080p full-HD encode and decode, intelligent power management, power-efficient Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM/GPS connectivity, high performance 3D graphics capability and support for multiple software standards including full Adobe Flash, Android™ and Windows Mobile.

This seems to be happening now, for release soon, yet not with a confirmed release date yet:

Announcing the initiative this week during her keynote speech to the country's leading publishers at the Future of Publishing conference in New York City, Marvell Co-founder Weili Dai said that the Moby tablet is a technology whose time had come.

Marvell will soon announce a pilot program in partnership with the District of Columbia Public School system (DCPS) where the Company will donate a Moby tablet to every child in an at-risk school as part of a multi-year program in new media and learning.

And this is definitely related to the One Laptop Per Child OLPC project:

Marvell has made a long-term commitment to supporting education at all levels and is the largest sponsor of the One Laptop per Child program which is bringing much-needed netbook computers to the developing world.

It would be really great of Marvell to speed up the release of the thin, light and cheap tablet/e-reader for education. Weili Dai, Marvell's Co-founder and Vice President and General Manager of Marvell Semiconductor's Consumer and Computing Business Unit said following at her keynote speech to the country's leading publishers at the Future of Publishing conference:

Education is the most pressing social and economic issue facing our country and our times. (...) Marvell can help propel education into the 21st century with an all-in-one device that gives students access to the best live content, information and resources the world has to offer — from books and online sources, in text, video, news, music, data expression or any medium. With Moby tablet, students can conduct primary research, reach out directly to the world's leading subject experts and even collaborate with one another around the globe. Best of all, the device is highly affordable. I envision Marvell's Moby tablets to benefit all students around the world.

I am definitely eager to see and hear more on Marvell's Moby $99 Tablet project. Look forward to more coverage on this Tablet/e-Reader for Education here at http://ARMdevices.net as I try to get more informations and perhaps even bring you videos of more prototypes soon.

Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/marvell-drives-education-revolution-with-99-all-in-one-moby-tablet-designed-for-the-worlds-students-88376967.html

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ARM Powered OLPC XO laptops coming within a year

Posted by Charbax – February 8, 2010

When the OLPC project's XO laptops are used in schools, the results are transforming education around the world. It’s getting children excited about school. It’s getting attendance to increase by 100 percent, which it does in most places where OLPC has deployed laptops, where more girls go to school, where the truancy drops to zero, where children take laptops home and teach their parents how to use them.

The One Laptop Per Child engineers are working on an ARM Powered XO 1.75 laptop which is going to be released within a year from now. My guess is that they might be optimizing it for using the Marvell Armada 610 or 510 processor.

The OLPC's official power consumption target is 2W of power consumption. Though I wonder, is 2W of power consumption really the goal? Not even lower?

For example, the Pixel Qi screen is supposed to consume only 0.1W when backlight is turned off, once Pixel Qi has optimized refresh rates and other details which they have said they will be able to do over the next few months. The whole ARM Processor System on Chip should not consume nearly any power at all when nothing is moving on the screen, when the student for example is just reading an e-book. Then how low really can the power consumption go? Shouldn't 0.2W power consumption in offline e-reader mode be a realistic goal? Thus shouldn't the child get 100 minutes of use for 1 minute of cranking?

Since most of the children served by laptops from the OLPC project live off the grid, and may not get electricity for many years, getting the power consumption down on the laptops is one of OLPC's main engineering goals. This and lowering the cost of the laptops to below $100 per laptop are the main goals of the OLPC project.

I'd like to see all the major ARM Processor makers announce that they will support OLPC in that goal, so that the XO 1.75 may not only be based on the Marvell processor, but that other processors will be optimized for it as well. All ARM Powered laptops shall point towards the same goals in my opinion, also in terms of software optimizations. We need fast and smooth web browsers, have Google and everyone else focus on optimizing the web browsing speed using the Chrome browser. While having everyone focus on one OS for all ARM Powered laptops may be a good idea eventually, until we figure out which OS are the best for which use, having easy multi-boot menus work and utilizing a minimal of extra storage space to ship laptops with multiple choices of Linux OS such as shipping ARM Powered XO laptops with Fedora based Sugar OS, with a Gnome desktop alternative, and with eventually an alternative based on a combination of Android and Chrome OS may be the best solution.

Free wireless broadband is also a priority. Sure a combination of existing cellular, ADSL, Fiber and WiFi Mesh networks of the OLPC project can already achieve a lot. But perhaps the generalization of use of 700mhz spectrum for wireless broadband all around the world will help lower the cost of deploying ubiquituous wireless broadband, especially in countries that deploy the OLPC project without having pre-existing broadband infrastructures in place. The TV spectrum needs to be used for free wireless broadband for all.

Rich countries need to prioritize the OLPC project in deploying revolutionary education using computers and Internet technology all over the world.

Source: smartplanet.com

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Via Technologies at CES 2010

Posted by Charbax – January 9, 2010

Via Technologies is powering the OLPC One Laptop Per Child XO 1.5 with a Via C7 1ghz processor on the VX855 chipset that can support up to 1080p video playback and other much more powerful things which also can help OLPC lower the price more quickly in terms of supporting the most up to date components of the industry that lower in price constantly. Via also has an ARM licence and is doing all kinds of things with that.

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OLPC XO-3 to make ARM Powered Tablets happen at $75

Posted by Charbax – December 22, 2009

OLPC designer Yves Behar is showing the XO-3 design over at http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/22/tablet-computer-negroponte-technology-cio-network-olpc.html

One Laptop Per Child XO-3 design

Imagine an ARM Powered Tablet computer with the 10.1" Pixel Qi screen, where the screen uses plastics instead of glass to be very resistive. Imagine low enough battery usage in transflective mode to power the device for 40 hours even though the less than 1cm in thickness of the Tablet does not allow for much space for the batteries. Imagine a fully optimized use of the Pixel Qi screens reflective abilities where the screen only needs to refresh at the speed of 1hz when in e-reader mode when nothing moves on the screen, with the processor and motherboard also completely shut off and standby to save power when they are not required. But where screen refresh rate and the processor and motherboard can instantly be turned on as soon as they are needed again.

Imagine wireless data technologies based on White Spaces, for free unlimited wireless broadband on the 700mhz spectrum, WiFi Mesh networking and maybe even low power Bluetooth built-in.

OLPC XO-3 tablet concept design

Imagine a touch screen technology which would allow for very responsive touchscreen interfaces to accommodate reading, web browsing, typing and playing of games. Yet where the touch screen functions on a plastic screen that is scratch resistant.

One Laptop Per Child OLPC XO3 games

All that for $75 and to be released within two years. Those are the latest plans from the OLPC organization, the same people that invented the Netbook industry as I wrote in http://www.olpcnews.com/commentary/impact/olpc_netbook_impact_on_laptop.html

olpc xo-3

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Sugar on a Stick Blueberry v2 introduced by Walter Bender of Sugar Labs

Posted by Charbax – December 9, 2009

This is a video-interview with Walter Bender of Sugar Labs at Netbook World Summit in Paris. Sugar is the Gnu/Linux based OS running in over 1.5 million OLPC XO-1 laptops used by Children around the world. It is the Linux distribution that popularized Linux on Laptop form factors. As I wrote in http://www.olpcnews.com/commentary/impact/olpc_netbook_impact_on_laptop.html the OLPC project has greatly influenced the whole PC/Laptop industry, and with more optimized and streamlined Linux implementations like this new Sugar Linux OS, the influence is only going to be even greater.

OLPC is a success

Posted by Charbax – July 26, 2009

Thanks to OLPC, we have soon 50 million netbooks in rich countries. Intel and Microsoft’s profit margins per laptop are shrinking rapidly.

Thanks to OLPC, children have soon millions of cheap lower power laptops in poor countries.

Thanks to OLPC, the PC/Laptop industry’s interpretation of Moore’s law has totally been reshaped, every 18month now PC/laptops will be half the price instead of 2x more powerful and with 2x more bloatware.

Sure, I would have been happier, and so would most other Linux geeks if OLPC had shipped 100 million laptops to poor children by now, and not just 1 million units. Reason for that not happening yet in multi-hundred million scales though are several:

1. Intel will do anything it can not to be killed off by a non-profit laptop technology revolution. Including abusing of monopolistic situations and corrupting politicians.

2. AMD is not much interested in helping OLPC succeed in lowering the cost of laptops and PCs. Lower cost also means less profits and margins for AMD, and AMD has enough problems with profits and margins as it is.

Looking forward, to reach those 100 million poor children sooner rather than later:

1. OLPC needs to find an alternative to AMD as soon as possible. VIA is planned for XO-1.5 which could hopefully ship a few millions of units in a few months time, if VIA supports this move of OLPC creating a cheaper and lower power market using their processor. XO-1.5 could reach the $150 pricepoint soon and enable dozens of commercial netbooks using the VIA processor and also copying on the way OLPC is using the VIA processor.

2. OLPC needs to implement the worlds best ARM processor based laptops for XO-2 working with Google to implement the so called Chrome OS on those. Cloud computing can work also for places without stable internet access, HTML5 supports offline web apps and offline databases. OLPC needs to push Google to make it work on WiFi Mesh networks as well. XO-2 can start at $100 when released and reach the $50 price point, when manufactured using any of half a dozen ARM processor companies chips. All of TI, Qualcomm, Marvell, Freescale, Nvidia and Samsung, all those ARM processors should fit in the XO-2 design. Competition will bring the prices down faster.

Also, to reach those 100 million children, OLPC needs to have more than just a couple dozen engineers working on the whole optimizations of hardware and software for the project.

What OLPC managed to build in XO1 and XO-1.5 with 30 employees and the little budget that they could get is absolutely amazing.

But what OLPC probably needs for XO-2 to absolutely work and sell laptops soon at $50 to revolutionize education worldwide, is thousands of engineers and the support from Barack Obama and the European Union.

So OLPC’s political agenda definitely needs to be more targeted towards the politics of education and aid of the USA and Europe and with much more ambition to make things happen in huge scale as quickly as possible.

Mary Lou Jepsen’s Home Lab

Posted by Charbax – June 6, 2009

Mary Lou Jepsen, CTO and inventor of the Pixel Qi technology, explains more of how the Pixel Qi 3Qi screen works, shows us a bit of how she works with her screen technology in her home lab, testing the angular performance in the OLPC screen and tells how power consumption can be saved further with a few motherboard modifications to behave like the OLPC laptop (turning off the processor and motherboard when they are not needed) and more.

Also watch my other Pixel Qi videos:
http://armdevices.net/2009/06/02/pixel-qi-screen-demo-live-from-taipei/
http://armdevices.net/2009/06/07/pixel-qi-vs-kindle-vs-toshiba-r600-vs-regular-lcd-tablet/
http://armdevices.net/2009/06/07/mary-lou-jepsen-answers-user-comments/

ARM and Android, the future of laptops

Posted by Charbax – April 1, 2009

The main goal of the OLPC, and thus, of the whole computer industry at this point, is to lower the cost of laptops by lowering the power consumption. The best way to achieve that, is to limit the way applications get full native access to the deep internals of the computer system. Intel’s X86 standard and Microsoft’s Windows OS were designed only for that multi-purpose backwards compatibility where the same unoptimized bloated software would work across thousands of hardware configurations with often full root access to the deepest internals of a computer system. For most of the applications that most people need, you do not need full native code support in third party applications. By limiting full native access for third party applications, you take care in one swoop of all the security problems that one has on Intel and Microsoft based PC and laptops. You basically make spyware, viruses, hacking and all of those problems impossible by design.

That is how Android is made. Android provides a totally sandboxed JAVA-based software layer, which only interacts with the hardware features through totally controllable software-to-hardware APIs. With Android on ARM, you have a complete shift in the way third party applications are run compared to X86 Windows XP/7, MacOSX and even most of those X86 Desktop Linux distributions that have been going around, including Ubuntu and Fedora.

The open source native Android Linux code hacking happens exclusively at the manufacturer stage. Which means, you want to have a manufacturer in control of everything, you want the manufacturer to customize Android for the very specific mass produced hardware in question, providing all the standard and non-standard software-to-hardware APIs for third party software developers to gain access to the all of the devices standard or special hardware features.

What you have backing Android is the worlds absolute best company in Google, comprised of the worlds largest concentration of PHDs and Engineers with the most experience in Web and computer technology. The role of Google with Android is to make sure that the native Android code works in the most optimal fashion with the most optimal hardware configurations that manufacturers are making for it. Google helps manufacturers prepare that Android native code customization for each different System On Chip, for each different variation on the ARM Cortex processor profiles by each of the industry leading ARM processor manufacturers among Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Freescale, Samsung, Nvidia, Marvell and others.

If you want to change the default Android user interface layer and make it look more like the Sugar User Interface layer (which for XO-1 was built on top of an optimized X86 Fedora Linux installation), you definitely can do those changes and customizations. Those would come from the manufacturers, thus in the case of OLPC from the whole OLPC organization, in cooperation with Google or anyone else helping to create a more education-laptop friendly user interface. But Android applications remain the same, and appart from slight porting that can be required, all Android applications are designed to work in full screen mode, and management of multi-tasking, notifications, memory and processing power consumption, all those are managed the same way accros all implementations of the Android OS.

HP has just announced that they are working to support Android in future HP Laptops. Asus has also announced to be working on Android laptops. Look forward to Android ruling over all ARM Laptop implementations, at least for these where the lowest cost and the lowest power consumption levels have been achieved. Look forward to $100 Android ARM laptops. Look forward to the empire of Intel and Microsoft crumbling under the inevitable hardware and software revolution that comes with the XO-2 and with the whole industry’s shift to lower cost, lower power consumption using ARM and Android in all laptops.